Having contributed to the San Diego region for decades, Del Mar couple Mel and Linda Katz will be recognized during the National Conflict Resolution Center’s 28th annual Peacemaker Awards April 14 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine.
“They are really unique individuals in the community, in terms of the breadth of the work that they’ve done to move San Diego forward as a community,” said Del Mar resident Steven Dinkin, president and CEO of NCRC. “It’s also so unique that as a couple, each one in themselves has really contributed greatly to society. Both Linda and Mel have been on countless boards and involved in countless organizations across the community that have had such a widespread impact on our community.”
Mel and Linda Katz relocated from Phoenix to San Diego in 1977.
Mel became co-owner and executive officer of staffing firm Manpower San Diego. He’s been with the company nearly 39 years.
Linda continued her career in retail until the couple had their first child in 1979. Not long after she became a mother, she also started volunteering. And what started as a hobby, eventually turned into a fulltime gig as a community leader and civic activist.
The mother of three has volunteered for more than a dozen local organizations, including Rady Children’s Hospital Auxiliary, Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, Francis Parker School, Girl Scouts San Diego, The San Diego Foundation, San Diego Symphony, Serving Seniors, and United Way of San Diego County, among others.
Linda helped establish The San Diego Women’s Foundation, the supporting arm of The San Diego Foundation, in 1999. In 2009, she also co-founded Women Give San Diego, a donor circle of the Women’s Foundation of California.
Today, Linda remains heavily involved with Planned Parenthood, Women Give San Diego and Barrio Logan College Institute, an after-school program that offers college preparation services for students beginning in third grade.
Also very involved in the community, Mel is an an outspoken advocate of child literacy, K-12 and higher education. He played a key role in fundraising for the San Diego Central Library, and currently serves on the boards of the San Diego Public Library Foundation, UC San Diego Foundation and as chair of e3 Civic High.
“When you look at San Diego County, and you see the different issues that we have, every one of them can be fixed and it can be so much better of a community,” Mel said. “If you get involved, you can really make a difference.”
As an international leader in mediation instruction and conflict resolution, San Diego-based NCRC celebrates local and national peace builders every year. This year, Mel and Linda Katz will receive the Philanthropy in Peacemaking Award.
“It’s an honor,” Linda said. “We were very surprised — having it be for both of us together. We share the same core values as a family and with our community involvements, yet we’re both involved in very different nonprofits and organizations with very different missions, but we both support what each of us do.”
NCRC is also honoring Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian Richard Dreyfuss as the night’s National Peacemaker Honoree. Dreyfuss will be in attendance to talk about the importance of education and empowering young leaders, which are core missions of both NCRC and the Dreyfuss Civics Initiative.
Additionally, NCRC is recognizing Reclaiming the Community Music Project with the San Diego Peacemaker Award. Through this project, rival gang members in southeast San Diego have put aside their differences to collaborate on an album called “Reclaiming the Community” with the goal of empowering residents to be the catalysts of positive change.
NCRC provides the resources, training and expertise to help people, organizations and communities around the world manage and solve conflicts, with civility.
The University of San Diego Law Center and the San Diego County Bar Association founded the organization in 1983. Since then, NCRC has managed more than 20,000 cases.
“It’s really amazing what they [NCRC] do,” Mel said. “They try to find solutions through communications.”
“I love that NCRC is built on that principle — that every dispute has a solution,” Linda added. “They will resolve issues with the highest possible degree of civility of equitability to all parties.”
About 600 people are expected to attend the annual event, which starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 14, at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine, 3777 La Jolla Village Drive. Tickets cost $300. Tables cost $3,500.
For more information and to purchase tickets, call 619-238-2400, ext. 222, or visit www.ncrconline.com.